Welcome to Kirk Hammett’s nightmare 

click to enlarge Kirk Hammett
  • Metallica guitarist and horror fanatic Kirk Hammett hosts the inaugural Kirk Von Hammett Fear FestEvil at the Regency Ballroom this weekend.
When Kirk Hammett was in first grade, he walked himself to school and babysat his kid sister. Unsupervised, he ran the streets of the Mission, hung out at the San Francisco Comic Book Company and spent the rest of his free time watching horror flicks, starting with “The Day of the Triffids” at age 5.

“By the time my parents caught wind of what I was doing, it was already too late,” says the Metallica guitarist, who presents the inaugural Kirk Von Hammett Fear FestEvil in The City this weekend.

Soon his taste expanded to more sophisticated fare, such as his all-time favorite film, John Carpenter’s creepy “Prince of Darkness.”

The gorehound still remembers the moment the deadly dye was cast, in fourth grade in Catholic school.

“I brought a copy of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland in to show my friends, and one of the nuns got a hold of it and said, ‘Do your parents know that you’re reading this kind of material?’ And I said, ‘Hey, my mom bought this for me, so of course they know!’” says Hammett, who went on to amass so much movie memorabilia, he compiled an anthology called “Too Much Horror Business.”

Pieces of his collection will be displayed Friday and Saturday at the music and horror festival, being held at the reportedly haunted Regency Ballroom.

The Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is planning quite the spooktacular.

The guest list includes makeup maestro Tom Savini, “The Walking Dead’s” Greg Nicotero, original “Godzilla” actor Haruo Nakajima and the first Ultraman, Satoshi “Bin” Furuya, along with legendary scream queens P.J. Soles and Barbara Crampton. He also wrangled descendants of Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

Among the 25 vendors are taxidermists, tattoo artists and Kirk von Hammett Toys.

Metal bands Carcass, Death Angel and Hammett’s original outfit Exodus will play. Hammett may jump onstage for encores.

The idea was a no-brainer. Dissatisfied that the annual WonderCon convention has been skipping the Bay Area lately, and heartened by the response to his Kirk’s Crypt tent at Metallica’s last two Orion Festivals, he opted to launch a personable, more interactive gathering.

“I decided to do it here in San Francisco because my collection is here, and so I’m basically taking the concept of Kirk’s Crypt and making it bigger, better,” he says.

Hammett was shocked to discover that Crampton — of “Re-Animator” and “You’re Next” — lives in The City.

He says Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara Karloff tracked him down, to view his custom Mummy guitar, adding: “It’s amazing to know these people, because I get to hear all these great stories!”


Kirk von Hammett’s Fear FestEvil

Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.

When: Noon to midnight Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday

Tickets: $37.50 to $200

Contact: (415) 673-5716, www.axs.com, www.fearfestevil.com

Note: A preview dinner ($125) with Hammett and Friends is at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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Tom Lanham

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